This Ranch Wedding in San Luis Obispo Proves You Can Seamlessly Marry Classic and Rustic Décor in One Event
Mika Vallarta and Steve Marchica met during their sophomore year at Loyola Marymount University, just before a sorority event. "He will tell you it was love at first sight," Mika says. "I, on the other hand, was dating a friend of a friend." Steve patiently waited until Mika ended her relationship—actually, he waited for quite some time. "We didn't start dating until we graduated college," she says.
Seven years after the couple first met, they were enjoying each other's company in Manhattan Beach (the spot where they first said, "I love you") when Steve asked Mika to be his wife. He hired a photographer to capture every moment of the proposal and flew Mika's parents in to celebrate the engagement with them the next day.
The happy couple, based in New York City, worked with Tyler Speier Events to design and plan a timeless wedding, which took place on May 25, 2019, across the country in California. They invited 150 guests to join them for their religious ceremony at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Arroyo Grande followed by a lively reception at Greengate Ranch and Vineyard in San Luis Obispo. Mika has a design background, so she was thrilled that Tyler understood her vision of juxtaposing elegant, classic details against the stunning ranch setting. The result? An event defined by its neutral color palette, punctuated with plenty of wood elements and metallic accents—and a party that proves you absolutely can meld rustic with traditional décor.
Mika minored in graphic design in college, so she wanted to use her skills to create her own save-the-dates and invitations. She teamed up with her aunt to hand-draw the suite's detailed map—and even tackled the calligraphy herself. She chose a black font on white card stock with gold lettering to give guests a preview of the event's elegant vibe.
Coming from a small town, Mika was thrilled to shop for her wedding dress in New York City. "I was able to go to some of the top stores in the world and try on dresses with the designer actually present!" she says. She initially selected a dress that she felt she always wanted, but when her mother asked her to try on a dress of her choice, she realized her mom's pick was the one. The silk Anne Barge ball gown featured a V-neckline and intricate lace detailing throughout the bodice.
The Finishing Touches
Mika wore an antique ring as her something blue; the heirloom once belonged to her great-grandmother. Her vintage pearl earrings served as her something borrowed (they were on loan from her grandmother), while a Cartier bracelet—a wedding-day gift from Steve—became her new accessory. The finishing touches? A hand-made veil that her aunt brought with her from the Philippines and Gucci heels with a blue-and-white floral pattern.
A Classic Bouquet
The bride chose a round bouquet, which featured white-and-blush peonies, garden roses, hydrangea, lisianthus, eucalyptus, ranunculus, astilbe, and dahlias.
A Party Jumpsuit
Mika wanted something easy to dance in, so she changed into a white silk and lace jumpsuit by The Stone Cold Fox for the reception.
The Handsome Groom
Steve donned a custom navy tuxedo with a silk shawl lapel; his ensemble was designed by a New York City tailor.
'Maids in White
Bridesmaids wore white floor-length dresses from Show Me Your Mumu. The gowns' high-neck necklines contrasted the bride's plunging one. "I wanted a neutral color palette and loved the idea of everyone being in white!" the bride says.
Groomsmen in Navy
Mika and Steve wanted the groomsmen's attire to pop against the bridesmaids', so they asked them to wear tuxedos in a shade deeper than the groom's own. Steve gifted each of his friends a "Talking Horses" Hermès tie, which matched the wedding's ranch setting.
A Surprise-Filled First Look
The pair took portraits throughout Greengate Ranch and Vineyards' grounds, where they shared their pre-ceremony first look. This was a highlight for Steve, who says, "Standing by the pond waiting for Mika, I felt a sense of peace and excitement knowing that our special day was about to begin. Right after the first look, Mika gave me my wedding gift, which was a picture of our new puppy that she had surprised me with!"
A Catholic Ceremony
Steve and Mika held a heartfelt ceremony at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Arroyo Grande, California. "It meant a lot to us and each of our families to celebrate with a Catholic ceremony," Mika says. They chose to incorporate some unexpected traditions, including lighting a unity candle and exchanging coins, like the bride's parents did at their wedding. They kept the service's décor simple: Three large ceramic urns placed near the altar held greenery, hydrangea, delphinium, garden roses, olive leaves, and huckleberry branches.
To the Cocktail Hour
The cocktail hour took place back at the reception venue, overlooking horse pastures, where guests enjoyed passed appetizers like fried ricotta, bacon-wrapped shrimp, burrata with grilled peach, and chilled Hamachi. Steve's signature cocktail was a spicy margarita while Mika selected a strawberry lime Tim Collins.
A Champagne wall was set up in the middle of the space; attached to each flute was a circular escort card. Guests took the glasses with them to their seats for the first toast of the evening.
Cocktail Hour Serenade
Musicians from the couple's band, Ben Mallare, treated guests to acoustic melodies.
The Entire Package
Mika and Steve fell in love with the grapevines, barn, and lush gardens at Greengate the moment they stepped foot onto the property. "[It has] rolling green hills and a vineyard as far as the eye can see," the couple shares. "We loved the fact that you were only 10 minutes from the beach, but still had a very rustic setting." An added bonus? Their entire wedding party was able to stay onsite so they could fully celebrate the weekend's festivities.
The Reception Setup
With help from their planner Tyler Speier, Mika and Steve selected mismatched tables—an assortment of rectangles and rounds—for a more natural feel. While some guests sat at long wooden tables with cheesecloth table runners topped with vibrant floral garlands, others situated themselves around circular tables covered in gray velvet linens and finished with lavish compote centerpieces. The venue's twinkle lights were covered in greenery—another organic touch.
The Farm to Table Dinner
Mika and Steve consider themselves "foodies," so they served a farm-to-table meal with dishes inspired by their favorite New York City restaurant. Dinner included a local kale salad with an anchovy dressing to start, followed by a choice of grilled hanger steak with crispy rosemary potatoes, a macadamia nut crusted Halibut with lemon parsley risotto, or an eggplant roulade with a wild mushroom gnocchi. "We loved what the team at Field to Table was able to create and that they offered our guests a selection of local organic food," Mika says.
After dinner, attendees were ushered into the barn for dancing. Overhead, two large chandeliers were draped with wisteria; below, the live band kept guests on their feet. Mika and Steve made sure to prepare a cozy lounge area in the barn, decorated with cohesive floral arrangements placed in large urns, to give their loved ones a chance to rest during the upbeat celebration.
Two floral sashes—which met in the middle—marked the bride and groom's reception chairs.
Cake and Desserts
For dessert, the couple brought in a three-tier cake from the Milk Bar in Los Angeles. The mother-of-the-bride prepared the rest of the desserts.
After the big day, the couple set off on their honeymoon to the Philippines to explore the islands of El Nido and Siargao—and to spend time with Mika's family in Manila. "It was important for me to have Steve meet my grandparents who could not travel for the wedding," Mika says.
Photography, Natalie Bray
Ceremony Venue, St. Patrick's Catholic Church
Reception Venue, Greengate Ranch and Vineyards
Event Planning, Design, and Flowers, Tyler Speier
Catering, Field to Table
Bride's Gown, Anne Barge
Bride's Reception Jumpsuit, The Stone Cold Fox
Bride's Shoes, Gucci
Bride's Jewelry, Cartier
Hair and Makeup, The Queen's Bees
Bridesmaids' Dresses, Show Me Your Mumu
Music, Ben Mallare
Lighting, Bella Vista Designs
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